Is this the biggest election since 1860? Let our expert explain why

Is this the biggest election since 1860? Let our expert explain why

October 28, 20202 min read

The upcoming U.S. presidential election is happening in unprecedented times and during what could be the most divisive era in more than a century and a half.

This week, one of the University of Connecticut’s historical experts, Manisha Sinha, was featured by CNN to explain her point that America is indeed facing its biggest election in 160 years.

“The 2020 presidential election is certainly as consequential as that of 1860. It is, as Biden is fond of saying, a battle for the 'soul of America.' The fate of the American republic once again hangs in the balance. Like the slaveholders of the 1850s, Trump, his followers and enablers are in a position to pose an existential threat to American democracy. Like many slaveholders, Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.

"If history appears first as tragedy, then as farce, the counterparts of southern secessionists and proslavery theorists today are QAnon conspiracy theorists, neo Confederates, and the right-wing Boogaloo boys. Much of the contemporary Republican Party that refuses to repudiate Trump is like those southern Whites who may not have had a direct stake in slavery but went with their states, who ultimately chose slavery before the republic. The choice -- as the Republicans of the Lincoln Project, who have broken with their party, put it -- is between America and Trump.”

Dr. Sinha’s full op-ed is available on and is a must-read for anyone looking to put this year’s election into historical context.

And, if you are a journalist looking to cover this topic, let our experts help with your coverage.

Manisha Sinha is the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut and the author of "The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition." She is available to speak with media regarding this topic – simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.

Connect with:
  • Manisha Sinha, Ph.D.
    Manisha Sinha, Ph.D. Draper Chair in American History

    Dr. Sinha is an expert in Civil War and Reconstruction

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